Sonntag, März 26, 2006

BERTOLD BRECHT / POET AND PLAYWRIGHT


Among the most inventive and influential of modern playwrights, Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) has left a legacy of important plays and theories about how those plays should be produced. Throughout most of his career he felt that drama should inform and awaken sensibilities, not just entertain or anesthetize an audience. Most of his plays concern philosophical and political issues, and some of them so threatened the Nazi regime that his works were burned publicly in Germany during the Third Reich.

Brecht wrote his most popular play in 1928, a musical collaboration with the German composer Kurt Weill: The Threepenny Opera. The model for this play, the English writer John Gay's 1728 ballad opera The Beggar's Opera, provided Brecht with a perfect platform on which to comment satirically on the political and economic circumstances in Germany two hundred years after Gay wrote.

Brecht's most successful plays are Galileo (1938-1939), Mother Courage (1939), The Good Woman of Setzuan (1943), The Private Lives of the Master Race (1945), and The Caucasian Chalk Circle (1948). But these represent only a tiny fraction of a mass of work, including plays, poetry, criticism, and fiction. His output is extraordinary in volume and quality. It includes plays borrowed not only from Gay but also from Sophocles, Molière, Gorky, Shakespeare, and John Webster, among others.


Here is one of his Love-Poems, I like so much:

TO READ IN THE MORNING AND AT NIGHT.

My love
Has told me
That he needs me.

That's why
I take good care of myself
Watch out where I'm going and
Fear that any drop of rain
Might kill me.

6 Comments:

Blogger Trudging said...

Thanks for the edification

1:17 nachm.  
Blogger castor said...

to Trudging:
------------
You are welcome as always, Trudge!

1:32 nachm.  
Blogger Ryan said...

more new history i love it.

4:19 vorm.  
Blogger castor said...

to Ryan:
-------
:-) OK! Tomorrow my post will be a historical document of my nephew's lovestory! :-)

Uncle Castor

1:35 vorm.  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

first got into Brecht via Jim Morrison and The Doors when they did a cover of Alabama Song and then of course Bowie did the same thing several years later.
a huge talent was Brecht.

2:19 nachm.  
Blogger castor said...

to Cocaine Jesus:
-----------------
It's very interesting, that Brecht is still rather unknown in the Anglo American speaking part, but here is the story of his exile, which could explain this fact:
In the 1930s Brecht´s books and plays were banned in Germany, performances were interrupted by the police or summarily forbidden. He went into exile, first to Denmark, then Finland and Russia and then to the USA. In the new country Brecht tried to write for Hollywood, but the only script that found partial acceptance was Hangmen Also Die (1942). "The intellectual isolation here is enormous," Brecht complained.
In 1947 Brecht was also accused of un-American activities and he went to Switzerland ... and then back to Berlin.

6:45 nachm.  

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